About 10 minutes later, we pulled off the highway and quickly found my building. All 5 glorious stories of studio apartments. 15 of them, and now there is going to be a vacancy. Hallelujah. I couldn’t wait to get this over with. I had a much more exciting stretch of road ahead of me. Sookie hopped out of the car with no less enthusiasm than I did, grabbing the insulated bag out of the back seat and waiting impatiently for me to lead her in the right direction. The second we were in the elevator, she climbed me like a tree, wrapping her legs around my waist and kissing me. I couldn’t help myself. I slammed her back against the wall and put my hands everywhere I could. Controlling them in the car had been torture.
It took me too long to unlock my door and I nearly kicked it in out of total frustration. Sookie dropped the bag as I swung the door shut behind us and carried her across the open floor to the bed. We crashed into it and started grabbing and yanking at each other’s clothes. We were all over each other. Sweating, moaning, biting, kissing, cuming, groaning, shaking and two hours later, the only thing that stopped us was being out of rubbers. The complete privacy of living alone made it hard to not decide to stay the night.
I was still catching my breath (and pouting out of greed) when Sookie got up. I laid there and watched her perfectly nude body stroll across the apartment to the kitchen and start putting our lunch together. I must have dosed off because the next thing I knew, I rolled over to see that my luggage and a few boxes were sitting by the front door and, again, there was an outfit folded and waiting for me and the shower was going. Fucking perfect.
I wrapped my arms around her when I got in the shower with her. “You packed my things?”
She tilted her head back to kiss me. “You were spent, so I made myself useful. I packed your closet and dresser and cleaned out your fridge. You were out for a couple of hours.”
I gave her a squeeze. “Thank you.”
“Lunch is ready when you’re done washing the sex off you. It’s more like an early dinner though.”
“You are amazing.” I started kissing down her neck to her shoulder, but she pulled away from me snickering.
“Simmer down. We need to get back to Bon Temps.”
I pouted my lip out at her. “I can’t get enough of you.”
She stepped out of the shower and smiled back at me while she toweled off. “Good. It’d break my heart if you were bored already.”
Fuck… How could I ever? Bored? With her?… Never.
Sitting down to the ‘lunch’ she had packed, I was impressed with her again. I was expecting cold cut sandwiches and maybe chips. I should have known better. She’d told me that she made fresh bread and apparently roasted a chicken just for chicken salad to go on it. She’d made a Greek salad and a peach & cherry cobbler for dessert. It was the most high end ‘picnic lunch’ I’d ever laid eyes on.
“Nice bachelor pad you’ve got here. If I had to guess, this place looks more like a mafia safe house. Clothes, guns, computers.”
“Chow calls me ‘bulletproof monk’. Alc and Jane are my only regular company.”
She raised her eyebrow at me. “Uh huh. What about irregular company?”
I laughed at the way she asked. “I don’t usually bring that kind of company back here.”
She started giggling. “Whore.”
“You just told me that you go to their place and don’t share your life with them. That, my dear, makes you a retired call girl.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Ok, if I concede, can we call me a retired man whore instead of the ‘call girl’ thing?”
“I suppose. Why so private?”
I shrugged. “Since I made the Task Force, I spend a fuck ton of time working and that isn’t something I can talk about.”
“And you consider them just dates.”
No point in lying, I guess. “Pretty much. I haven’t met anyone I’ve had much in common with in ages.”
“So you meet a girl and keep her around until whatever and then dump them.”
“When you say it like that, you make me sound like an asshole.”
“To who? We’re the only ones here. I know you’re not an asshole. I’ve killed time with someone before.”
Clarification… “So you don’t think of it as me being a misogynist?”
She started laughing. “Sweetie, if you were, I’d have scared you off by now! But no, unless you led any of them on… And if their hearts were broken when you dumped them, then it was their own fault for not getting the whole ‘not in it for the long haul’ thing.” Thank God.
“Ok then, since we’re talking about silly mistakes girls make… What makes you so sure I’m not likely to dump you?”
“Because I give an amazing blow job and can still keep your attention when your dick isn’t in me. I’m a 5 mother fucker and you’re smart enough to know that because you’re a 5 too.” She hadn’t even paused to think about it… and her answer made me think about going out to get another box of rubbers.
I had to stop thinking about her blow jobs… “A 5 huh? As opposed to a 10?”
She smiled at me. She knew I was testing her. “I score a 5 on the ‘S’ scale and I’m a 9 point 5 on a scale of one to ten.”
“Where did you hear about the ‘S’ scale? That’s a closely guarded man-secret.”
“I’m a Tomboy and insanely close to my father and brother. And I did go to college.”
I smiled at her. Definitely a 5. “And why is it that you don’t get a perfect 10?”
“Because I’m a fucking midget. Don’t get me wrong… I love climbing you like a monkey in a fucking tree, but I’d be grateful for an extra 4 inches so that I could kiss you without breaking my neck. I hope you like me in heels. Fucking Sheila and her gene pool. Jason’s pissier about it than I am though. ‘Little Stackhouse’ and ‘Junior’ started getting guys flattened when he was about 16. That’s when CJ became the only other thing he’d answer to.”
“I can kind of relate… being so tall has caused a few problems. In middle school everyone thought I was a retard because I was head and shoulders over everyone. We lived in one house where I had to duck every time I went through a door.”
She smiled and held up her bottle of tea. “To having something to whine about.”
I laughed and put my bottle to hers.
We were about half way through our meal when there was a knock on the door.
When I went to get up, Sookie waved me to stay put and keep eating and she went to go answer it. Alcide.
The look on his face was pained and contorted as he set his stuff down. Sookie offered him something to eat and went to the kitchen to quickly make a plate for him when he nodded. He was being too quiet.
Sookie was watching him. She’d noticed too. “Ok, Alc, what’s wrong?”
He snorted. “Uh… The uh… problem… Pam called ahead and let the rest of the guys know that we were transferring. According to Dahlia… They got it in their heads to throw us a bon voyage.”
I looked at him, completely confused. “How do they think they’re going to manage that? I planned on being out of here in half an hour.”
He cleared his throat and squirmed. Warning bells. Seeing a guy that big fidget… never a good thing. “They’re on their way here… With a stripper.”
I could have shit. “HERE!? Why? FUCK!”
“Pam told Russell that I was meeting up with you and that we were riding back together. She told them we’d be here but not that Sookie would be with you to help pack.” He all but implied that Sookie was either a ‘party pooper’ or that if she weren’t here I’d hide it or lie about it.
I had a mouth full of food that I’d forgotten to chew. This was fucking crazy. Really nice of those ass hats to think of us, but a fucking stripper… at my house… with my fiancé… while I’m trying to pack… SHIT!
Sookie came over, setting a plate and a bottle of tea in front of Alcide. He actually looked like he was bracing himself to be hit until she sat down and started eating again.
She started to giggle. “I told you that Pam’s funny.”
“She set us up for a surprise stripper. That’s not funny.”
“Yes it is. Well, as long as she’s not a dog. How many guys do you think will show up? You don’t have any groceries in the house. I should run out and grab some stuff while you finish packing.”
“No you shouldn’t.”
“You can’t have a party with a stripper and no drinks or anything.” I must have looked like I’d seen a ghost. She started laughing at me. “Oh, I get it. I’m not invited. OK. I’ll go shopping. Call me when the party’s over?”
“You’re not going anywhere… Us transferring is just an excuse to get a stripper.”
She giggled. “Fine, I’ll stay put, but let ‘em have their fun. What better reason to get one…” She pulled her wallet out of her pocket and started rifling through it. “Where’s a good place to get change? All I have is 20s.”
Alcide and I just stared at her. She reached over and lifted Alcide’s jaw closed without looking. “What?”
“You don’t mind being at a party with a stripper?”
She took a swig of her drink as she got up. She started laughing. “Sweetie, you’ve seen me dance. Where do you think I learned…” She kissed my cheek. “I’m gonna hit the Grab N Go at the corner for beer and fives. Alc, need any change?”
Alcide shook his head with eyes as big as dinner plates. “You used to be a stripper?”
“No. I’m just this side of too modest for that. Tips at the coffee house sucked so as soon as I turned 18, I started waiting tables at a classy little place called ‘The Melon Baller’. Made a couple hundred a night just stroking egos.”
I smiled as I watched her walk out and as soon as the door closed behind her, Alcide went off on a tear. “You’ve got to be kidding me! Seriously? You lucky son of a fucking bitch!”
I laughed at him. “That’s me.”
“No fucking way… She’s smoking hot, smart enough to be dangerous, not turned off by ‘the job’, YOUR parents approve, her family is awesome… And what the fuck am I eating? This is incredible.”
“Homemade sourdough bread, roasted chicken with garlic and havarti dill. The mayo has spicy red pepper relish in it.”
“I’d want this as a last meal, but by the time my house is done, I’m going to have love handles.”
“It’s worth the extra time in the gym.”
“If you fuck it up with her, I’ll punch you in your dick.”
“If I don’t kill myself first, have at it.”
I got up and started washing my plate while Alc finished his food. “I can’t believe you actually did any packing. I expected you to take advantage of being alone.” Pervert.
“We did for a couple of hours then she packed while I slept.”
“She packed your shit?”
I gave him a shit eating grin. “While I slept.”
Alc stared at me for a long while, even while he ate. I tried to ignore it while I disconnected my computers and packed it all in the bag with the accessories, but I could feel him staring at me. I decided to break the quiet by telling him about our pit stop adventure. He laughed his ass off when I told him that Sookie threatened the cop then again when I got to the part when Sookie recited the radio signalman’s alphabet forwards and backwards at lightning speed.
He was still looking at me with an unreadable expression but seemed to switch channels eventually. “Where’s the bird?”
“Not sure. Jane takes her to her place when I’m gone for longer than a couple of days. I’ll go over on the way out to get her. If I go over now she’ll be a problem with company over.”
I went over to my bed and started stripping it. I was just going to throw the bedding in a box to take with us, but I figured that since I was anchored to the damn apartment for a couple more hours, I might as well wash it.
Sookie had been gone for no more than 20 minutes when I realized I already missed her. I was shoving the comforter into the washer when someone started pounding on the door. I figured it was Russell, Rasul, Patrick and Andre; the rest of the team, but when I opened the door, Sookie was standing there with a case of beer in each hand and a bag around each wrist.
I laughed at her while I took the beer. “I don’t plan on letting everyone stay this long.”
She stood on her toes to kiss me. “Better too much than not enough. We’ll take home the leftovers. I grabbed myself some Redbulls so that I can drive. You boys can have more fun that way.” She kicked Alcide’s chair leg on her way by him. “D’you get enough to eat? There’s plenty more.”
“Yeah, it was great thanks. You need to teach Ame how to cook.”
“I don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands. You’re going to have to pick between cooking and lap dancing.”
He looked like he’d been slapped. “You heard about that?”
“Yes sir, I did. I told you, Pam’s funny.” She winked at him while we laughed at how embarrassed he was.
I’d gone to pack my other guns while Sookie spread out snacks on the table and washed Alcide’s plate for him. He followed ‘smoking protocol’ and opened the window and sat on the ledge to smoke and when Sookie was done with the chores she gave herself, she sat next to him and chatted him up about his new house until the guys got there. Alcide answered the door.
Russell (the biggest loudmouth I know) was the first one through the door. “I hear you fuckers are starting your own little party in Shreveport and taking the kingpin with you. The riding-crop is moving up and taking her pets along for the trip, huh?” He could call it what he wanted to make himself feel better, but Alcide and I worked our asses off for Pam and, thank God, she’d noticed.
I could tell by the edge in Alc’s voice that he was annoyed, but he laughed it off and shook Russ’s hand anyway.
I saw Russ nod his head toward Sookie. “I see the stripper’s here early… I asked for a redhead, but she’ll do. Those tits make up for it.” He waved Sookie over to him. I was about to correct him when I saw the smirk on her face as she started to cross the room. Alcide had apparently been on the same page as me because he smiled in my direction.
Russell was leering at her. “Why don’t you turn around for me, jugs?”
Sookie smiled and held her arms out, and turned slowly. “You like?”
Russ stared down his nose at her. “So far. You don’t have any stretch marks, do you?” A perfectly reasonable question to ask a stripper, but I still wanted to punch him in his nose whether he knew she was mine or not.
Sookie held her smile and slowly inched her wife beater up and gave her pants a little push down, turning again. “Are you the one paying me?”
Russell was still looking at her like a piece of meat as he reached into his pocket and handed her a wad of bills. Alcide laughed like a madman as she thanked him and shoved the money into her pocket then fixed her clothes.
He cleared his throat. “I hear you’re getting married, Northman. What species did you find to put up with you?”
I cut my eyes at him. “She’s a rare breed.”
“You mean like a cross between a pig and a goat?” Alcide’s giggling, yes giggling, had started to irritate Russell. “Herveaux, what are you going on about!?”
He looked over at me. “You wanna tell him?” Sookie started to smirk.
“That ‘stripper’ is my fiancé, you asshole.”
“You’re doing a stripper?”
I walked over and stood next to Sookie, shaking my head the whole way. “No, fuck tard. I’m ‘doing’ a teacher who you mistook as a stripper.”
Russell’s mouth fell open while Sookie introduced herself to everyone. She saved Russ for last and shoved the wad of cash back into his hand.
“My teachers never had a body like yours. What do you teach?”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “Sex ed.”
All three of ‘us’ laughed when the color drained from his face. “Ser…serious…really?”
“I’m a history teacher. Close your mouth. You’re drawing flies… Who wants a beer?”
Sookie turned to go get drinks for everyone and I started to close the door, but it was stopped. I opened it and I was looking at our stripper. She had big golden brown eyes and long wavy auburn hair hanging lose down her back. She was about 5’8” with long legs and she was wearing a black trench coat cinched tight around a very small waist. She was prettier than any stripper I’d ever seen. I dare say she might be almost as beautiful as Sookie. Almost.
“I’m looking for Eric or Russell. I’m Amber.” She had a thick New England accent that she made no attempt of hiding.
I showed her in and announced her and the second her name crossed my lips Sookie’s head shot up. She vaulted over the counter and charged over, wrapping her arms around our stripper.
They squealed a hyperactive high pitched ‘girl’ greeting that I was sure only dogs could interpret. They hugged each other and swayed back and forth excitedly.
Sookie must have realized what a spectacle they were and took Amber by the hand and led her to the hall. Of course, I followed.
“Oh god! I missed you Frannie. I tried calling you ages ago and you changed your number.” Frannie? I guess Amber was a stage name?
“I missed you too. My purse got boosted on vacation and my cell with it. My schedule has been so crazy, I keep missing a chance to call you.” They hugged again.
“What happened to Stamford?”
“The term ended. When I volunteered down here after Katrina, I’d accidentally networked my way into a new position. I started here about 2 months ago. How’ve you been?”
“You know me. Same old, same old. Except for him. Frannie, this is my fiancé, Eric Northman.”
She shook my hand again. “Amber is just to maintain some anonymity. Nice to meet you.”
“I figured. How do you two know each other?”
They both giggled and Sookie cut her eyes at me. “Brace yourself.” Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. She bit her bottom lip just before she started… “You know how some people experiment in college?”
Fuck. Maybe she meant drugs. That’d be easier to not daydream about. “Yeah?”
“Well, Frannie and I did our exploring together.”
Sheet white. I must have been. “You two used to be a couple?”
They both nodded and snickered. I know they were laughing at the look on my face. My mouth had gone dry again.
Frannie turned to Sookie and whispered something in her ear. I couldn’t hear it because my pulse was ringing in my ears.
“Naw. He’ll be fine. Come on, let’s get you set up.”
They left me standing there with my hands in my pockets while I tried to get my brain to communicate with my legs and when I walked back into my apartment, Alcide headed me off.
“I need a drink.”
“What the fuck was all that about?”
“They know each other.”
“No shit, Sherlock.”
Alcide’s eyes glazed over as he watched them disappear into the bathroom together and then stared at the closed door. Instead of being pissed at him, I was fucking grateful to not be the only one with frozen gears. The two of us stood there paralyzed and seemingly unnoticed by our former teammates while they made typically suggestive remarks about ‘Amber’.
“You didn’t know?”
“It never came up.”
“I might just punch you in the dick now.”
“For all men everywhere.”
I downed 3 beers and talked shop with the guys about the Vampire while Sookie and Frannie were in the bathroom. The guys were jealous of the headway we’d made over the last couple of days since we hadn’t mentioned that Sookie was our ace in the hole, a ‘silent partner’ if you will. We were definitely keeping her under tight wraps- completely unwilling to ‘share’ her with anyone but Pam. Sookie finally emerged with a CD in her hand and gave me a wink as she went to my stereo and loaded it. She quickly glided across the floor and grabbed a redbull before hopping up on the counter right next to me. When the music started (some pop remix I wasn’t really interested in) ‘Amber’ made her appearance and started her show in full tilt. I was only half paying attention.
I kissed Sookie’s neck and whispered in her ear. “You realize what a turn on that is, right?”
“Duh.” I laughed into her ear. A genius just told me ‘duh’.
“You aren’t planning on dancing with her are you?”
She giggled at me. “Maybe some other time. I’d like Alcide to be able to look me in the eye since I have to live with him.”
“Am I going to have to worry about running into anymore of your girlfriends? I don’t know if I could take another shock like that.”
“Sorry. She’s the only one; we were just bi-curious. And I’ve only had two other boyfriends. You’ll meet them eventually. I’m still friends with them too.” 4 partners? That’s it?
“I’m still friends with a couple exes too, but I doubt you’ll have a seizure trying to shake off the mental images.”
She smoldered at me. “Feel free to add it to the spank bank.” Too late, but thanks for permission. “You should go sit down. It’s kinda hard to get a lap dance when you’re standing up.”
“I’d rather get a lap dance from you.”
She gave me chills giggling into my ear. “Who says you won’t eventually.” She finished off her drink and slid off the counter. “I’m going to go load the car so you don’t think you have to behave for my sake.”
She reached into her pocket and pulled out a 20, gave a loud cat call of a whistle just like the ‘other guys’ were giving and waited for Amber to dance over to her. Sookie held the bill back and over her head and as Amber reached for it, Sookie slapped her ass hard enough to leave a handprint behind. Oh. Fuck. Amber smiled with a grunt and turned to rub her ass on Sookie’s lap as she danced away and towards me.
I watched Sookie go to the door and start grabbing things and then disappear into the hallway. When the door swung closed, I felt a solid punch land on my shoulder. I laughed, knowing it was Alcide’s bitter blow.
Amber spent a few minutes focusing on me, but it was wasted. I was already hung up on the idea of her and Sookie together and I was grateful when she turned her focus to Alc. So was he.
I watched Sookie come and go with mine and Alcide’s things and everything that had been piled up by the door was gone by the time Amber’s show was over. Alcide and I shared looks of disgust as our ‘friends’ all made an excuse to dip out within minutes of Amber retreating to the bathroom. Like I’d said, our transfer was just an excuse to get a stripper. They could have just gone to a strip club and left us to get on the road. As it was, we weren’t going to be getting home until nearly 4 in the morning.
Sookie had already started to clean up the snacks while the guys were making their exit smiling and graciously ignoring the way they were looking at her. Andre congratulated me for finding a ‘bitch that knows her place’ and I almost punched him. And Rasul was lucky Alcide and I were both on the other side of the counter when he grabbed Sookie’s ass.
He leaned over to be creepy at close range. “I get dibs when you get bored with Blondie.”
Sookie turned so fast, I barely saw her move to hug her arm around his neck and kick her leg around behind him to take his legs out from under him. He landed flat on his back on the concrete floor and she planted her knee in his chest, grinding it in. “Keep your hands off things that don’t belong to you. Touch Eric’s ass again and see what happens.” She looked like she was ready to kill him.
I had to fight the urge to laugh at the tears in his eyes when Alcide pulled her off of him. Patrick helped Rasul up and he left with an embarrassed look on his face and without another word. The second the door closed behind them, Sookie’s face went from vicious to amused. She started laughing hysterically.
“Did you see the look on his face?!” She slapped Alc five and we started laughing with her.
Sookie had packed the ‘leftovers’ and set them by the door by the time Frannie was done getting dressed. Sookie followed me to Jane’s apartment while Alcide took the last of our things to the car and made sure Frannie made it out alright.
I didn’t get an answer at Jane’s door. She was a nightowl. She called it ‘old-somnia’ and it wasn’t at all uncommon for her to be up at all hours of the night and she rarely ever went out after dark because of her vision. Worried. Really worried. She was older than dirt and the closest thing I had to family while I was here. All I could think about in the elevator on the way down to check with Chow was that she had one too many glasses of wine and fallen… again.
When Chow opened his door in a green silk kimono, I realized that I’d miss him. Eccentric was a great word for him. He was fun to say the least. I introduced Sookie and he grabbed her for a bear hug. I watched her eyes bulge and when he finally settled down, I got more serious.
“Chow, where’s Jane? Is she alright?”
“Yeahyeahyeah… her granddaughter went into labor early so she flew to LA yesterday. Took her to the airport myself. It’s a boy, a big one, over 9 pounds… Anyway… She took Tippy with her. Said she didn’t trust me to take care of her. She said she would call you when she got settled but she’d probably wear out her welcome by next week.” I laughed at the idea. The woman has 11 grandchildren and every one of them had been fighting to have her come live with them. She’s one of those captivating, sweet little old ladies that everyone just loves. Full of wisdom and experience. I was going to miss her. A lot.
“Or this grandkid will win and get her.”
Chow laughed. “He might. Especially once Jane finds out that you won’t be around to take care of anymore.”
Sookie giggled and looked up at me. “Does she have a mom crush on you?”
Chow started to hiss out a laugh. “You could call it that. She keeps track of his hours so she can fuss at him for not having a life. On labor day, she took his power cords for his laptops hostage to make him go up to the roof for a cookout, then attacked him with sun block.” Thankfully Chow left out that Jane had brought me one beer after another and tried to hook me up with 3 different girls. Literally. They were all barely legal. She talked me up like I was up for auction at Christie’s. It was sweet, but embarrassing as hell.
I spent a few minutes updating Chow on my adventures in the back woods of Louisiana and letting him know how to get in touch with me. I figured that when Jane called me, I’d make arrangements to have Tippy flown straight to Shreveport. I hated the idea of shipping her and the thought crossed my mind to have my parents bring her out next weekend, but since my father thought it was hilarious that I had such a ‘faggy’ pet, I’d have to figure out how to broach the subject. I would have been more disappointed if I didn’t trust Jane. To be fair, with as much as I work, we kind of shared Tippy. She loved that bird as much as I did. Attitude and all.
When we got downstairs and started across the street, Alcide was waiting, leaning against the car with his arms folded across his chest. Sookie walked right up to him and put her hand over his mouth, wiping off lipstick.
“That color’s no good on you.” She stood in front of him, giving him an evil stare.
“She kissed me! I didn’t… I told her… She kissed me!”
She stared him down and folded her own arms and I chuckled at how he cowed to such a tiny thing. I heard Sookie’s phone start to chime in her pocket and she kept him locked in her stare until she looked down at the text. She snorted and shoved it back in her pocket.
“You’re off the hook. Get in the car.”
“What did it say?”
“Tell the hulk I said sorry and give him my number if he reconsiders.”
The ‘hulk’, huh? I couldn’t help but laugh. I knew I could get a few miles out of that nickname. Alc just shook his head.
The backseat was full. We’d had more crap than I thought, so I sandwiched myself into the middle of the front seat.
Sookie laughed at him. “Why are you shaking your head? If you were single, I would totally hook you two up.”
Alcide got serious and grumbled. “Ame would love the extra ammo in court. Dirt bag ex dating stripper.”
Sookie snorted. “But you wouldn’t be dating ‘Amber the stripper’. You’d be dating ‘Frannie the orthopedic surgeon’.”
Both of us gave ourselves whiplash turning to look at her. “Surgeon?” A doctor stripping? I wonder if Sookie has any friends that don’t have an alter ego. Her brother hung his Ivy League MBA in a trailer instead of a Fortune 500 corner office and I was still tempted to show up just to see Lafayette in court. Nuts. Just fucking nuts.
Sookie shrugged as she started the car. “Med school isn’t cheap. She still does it from time to time when she’s single to decompress. Her job isn’t low impact.”
“So how did you meet?” Filling the void. Trying to keep Alcide’s train of thought off of Frannie’s ‘offer’.
“She put the pins in my wrist. It was her first surgery. She was still an intern.”
Shit. That isn’t where I wanted the conversation to go. Alcide started to chuckle though. “She hit on a patient?” For once, it might have been a good thing that his mind was in the gutter.
Sookie leaned forward to look at him with a raised eyebrow. “What makes you think that I waited for her to hit on me.” She sat back to laugh at the stricken expression on his face. “She was terrified when she talked to me before the surgery and checked on me twice a day for a week afterwards. I sent her flowers when I got home, thanking her for a job well done. The rest, as they say, is history.”
I couldn’t help but stare. I’m a fucking guy, alright! My imagination was in overdrive. I wanted details… pictures… video… sue me.
Alcide clawed his way out of his musings before I did again. “So if I were single, you’d toss me your sloppy seconds.”
I watched her eyebrow go up again and her tongue started playing on her lips. “Sweetie, there’s nothing sloppy about Frannie; she’s pickier than I am. Besides, I said ‘if’ and you’re not. Besides, there’s the problem of geography. It’s a shame, too.”
“Really? Why is that?”
“Because she’s got the patience of Job. She’s exceptionally smart and funny and her mouth should be insured by Lloyd’s of London.”
Lump in my throat. I decided that I didn’t want specifics anymore. I was doing bad enough on my own.
Alcide narrowed his eyes, having fun playing ‘what if’. “On a scale of one to ten?”
“What am I?”
“Ten.” I could have had a fit about him rating my fiancé, but she asked and he was right.
She laughed. “Then what’s Amelia?” 6.
“Not the point.” Smart man not to say that out loud.
“Frannie’s at least a twelve then. I am but her grasshopper.”
I started laughing. I couldn’t help it and I knew I was about to say something that would probably get my ass kicked, but… “Fuck HIM! Can I have my cake and eat it too?” Filter on the fritz.
Alcide elbowed my ribs and I laughed, but Sookie cut her eyes at me. “Don’t be greedy, sir. If you need more, I’m not trying hard enough. I’ll have to double my efforts.” Oh dear Lord. She’s going to put me in traction. And I’ll enjoy every second of it.
Sookie had let me stew over her ‘promise’ for a few minutes before changing the subject. Alcide and I had both had several beers and were REALLY distracted. ‘Jell-O wrestling death match: Sookie Vs. Frannie’ was the most ‘G’ rated thing I could think of at the moment…
“So Alc, did you and the wife talk or did she sulk for the whole drive.”
He cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortably. “She announced that she wants to go to counseling after telling me that if I fucked you she’d kill us both.”
I felt like the wall between priest and confessor. I was only a fraction more comfortable than I was during the father/son talk yesterday.
“Yeah. That’s what I said… I told her I’d go, even though I don’t think it’ll work.”
“Did you tell her why you don’t think it’ll work?”
“Because the boys were awake.”
“Ok. You need to talk about it though. Telling her that you don’t think it will work without telling her why makes you look like a pessimist. Until she knows that you know, she’s going to twist it around in her head that you think SHE won’t forgive YOU.”
He snorted. “She spent most of the drive sleeping and I spent it thinking.”
“I don’t want to end up like your father.”
“You mean held emotionally hostage by a self righteous bitch?”
“That’s about the size of it. She told her friend that I had a girlfriend where Jack could hear.”
The look on Sookie’s face got hostile. FAST. “She WHAT?!”
“Yeah… I wanted to kill her when he brought it up… And I’m sure that the second she knows that I know she fucked around, she’ll twist it around in her head that my ‘affairs’ were why she did it. This is a huge cluster fuck and I don’t think there’s a way for this to end well.”
“What do you want to do?”
“I guess that right now the plan is to try counseling.”
“That isn’t what I asked.”
“I want to toss her out on her ass. I’m sick of all the bullshit. If I could find a way to keep the boys with my schedule, I would.”
Alcide shot forward in his seat and turned to look at her. “YES. I really would. I don’t want to do this to my kids. If you have any ideas on a way for me to keep my kids I’m listening.”
“Single parents have been figuring it out for ages. I’ll teach you to cook. You’ll figure it out.”
“Kids need a mom though.”
“Not if their mother is going to use them as their father’s shackle. You’re preaching to the wrong choir, friend.” She drank the last of another redbull and handed the empty can to him. “Ashtray. Crack the window.”
He looked like she’d have given him a new car and fired up right away. I usually give him shit about smoking in the car, but I figured I could forgive it considering the topic. Especially since I was trying to be invisible.
They must’ve talked for another hour (and half a pack of cigarettes) about EVERYTHING. And thank god, they seemed to be just as happy to act like I wasn’t there as I was. I was over informed to say the least. I now know WAY more about Alcide’s private life than I ever wanted to. After talking to Sookie on the way down and being a fly on the wall for their talk, I felt horrible about all of the assumptions I’d made about him.
When Amelia ‘cut him off’ she’d done it almost as soon as she found out she was pregnant with Carm and blamed the pregnancy and that she was tired from taking care of Jack and still working. Alc could list every time they’d had sex since then. Poor bastard. Soon after the sex went away, she stopped cooking for him. She had been one of those wives that would leave a covered plate in the fridge for him to eat when he got home from work. She had been the type to make sure she cooked something he liked or if he called to say he was running a little late, she’d hold dinner for a while. After all of that was gone, she started separating his clothes out of the laundry for him to do himself. She’d all but packed his things by Carm’s first birthday. They were barely roommates anymore.
In one day, I’d completely switched sides. I’d thought she was a saint for putting up with him. He tends to be grouchy and can make a compliment sound like an insult. He’s suspicious of everyone (except me and now Sookie) and is generally malcontented. Sullen. Sardonic. Rude. Repulsive. Mostly around other people, occasionally he was like that with me, but never… NEVER with his kids.
So there I was, suddenly forgiving him, excusing every lapse of etiquette. I couldn’t imagine being trapped between a rock and hard place like he was. In the last couple of days, I’d seen him smile more and laugh louder than he had probably all year. He’d been miserable with her. Knowing what he’d go home to. Sookie treated him like just another guy. She forgave him for being shitty to her when they first met faster than I had and made him feel comfortable.
The post-Sookie Alcide, was a pleasant change. Sookie had been right this morning when she called him fuckable. I wouldn’t ‘go gay’ for him or anything, but if I had a sister I didn’t hate, I wouldn’t mind him dating her. He could be a really nice guy when he wasn’t being ‘punished’.
While they were talking, I realized that Alcide’s marriage was probably why I was just fine on my own for so long. If being married makes you that miserable, then who the fuck would do that to themselves? Why go looking for complications? Why invite that into their life? I can’t remember the last time the pitiable fucker wasn’t in a worse mood after a phone call from her. In spite of liking her, over the last couple of years, I’d started cringing every time I heard her ringtone, just like he did. Sometimes we were lucky and she was just calling to yell at him for not being home to take out the trash, but more often than not, she’d call while we were working to accuse him of cheating because he used a new dry cleaner/bought a new suit/picked up the tab when we went out. Sometimes more than once in a day.
I watched Sookie drink 2 more energy drinks while they talked. Being no part of the conversation, and watching the lines on the highway started coaxing my eyelids down. In spite of my powernap, I went out like a light.
I woke up to the blinding fluorescent lights of the gas station overhang. It was a rude awakening since I had been enjoying a very interesting dream. It involved baby oil, Sookie and Frannie and a heated game of Grab Flag. Alcide was asleep against the window when I started rubbing my eyes to focus on the clock. 2:30. “Where are we? How are you holding up?”
Sookie smiled brightly at me. “I’m doing great. We’re in Bossier City. I had too much to drink; bathroom break. Want anything?”
I leaned over and kissed her. “Always.”
“Mmm, almost home now. Think you can wait?”
She kissed me again, this time deeper and sexier, before she went inside. Ungh.
Once we were back on the road, I held her hand like a child in line at an ice cream truck. I was so excited that I was surprised that I slept at all during the trip. Eager. Crazy Impatient. I guess what ‘they say’ is true about the last leg of a road trip being the longest. 20 minutes felt like forever.
I got more excited still when we pulled into the driveway and in spite of the bumpy nature of the gravel path, Alcide was still sound asleep against the window as we pulled to a stop. I lifted my hand with the intention of giving him a quick slap, but Sookie caught me and gave me a dirty look. She reached across my lap and patted his knee.
“Alc… Alcide. Wake up. We’re home.” Home. I smiled.
She patted him again and then gave his knee a little rub, finally causing a stir. She smiled at him and slapped his thigh when his eyes opened, then scooted out of the car and I followed her, leaving Alcide to get his bearings.
Sookie and I went straight to the trunk and started taking things in and when we got to the bedroom there was a surprise waiting. Standing where Sookie’s small chest of 4 drawers was once placed, was a much larger dresser with 8 drawers. It was probably long enough for me to sleep on. The wood matched the finish of Sookie’s bookcases and bed and there was a dark blue bow on it with an envelope peeking out from under it.
I looked over at Sookie, eyebrow raised and she seemed just as confused as I was. I set down the armful of stuff I was carrying and went over. Opening the drawers, I saw Sookie’s clothes neatly folded in each drawer on one side and the drawers down the other side were empty.
Sookie still seemed puzzled as I opened the envelope with my name scrawled on it. The card inside was simple. Handmade cardstock with a shamrock pressed into it. The inside read: “Just our way of saying welcome to the family, son.” It was signed by Corbett first, then Jason, Tara, Sam and Lafayette. It was the single, most thoughtful gift I’d ever gotten. God help me, I almost cried.
I was at a loss. I stood and stared at the piece of furniture for a moment with a retarded grin on my face. I couldn’t help myself. Just grinning. Hands in pockets. Until Sookie came over and wrapped her arms around me.
We shared a look before I had to shake myself out of my fog of appreciation so that we could finish unpacking the car.
When we got back to the car, Alcide had fallen back to sleep. I swear, that son of a bitch could sleep anywhere as long as it was quiet. Sookie and I laughed at him as we finished unloading. He was the last ‘thing’ we got out of the car.
His forehead was pressed up against the window, mouth hanging open. Steam flashed and receded on the glass as he snored.
Sookie snickered and nudged me. “He’s too big for me. Carry him to bed and tuck him in. Don’t forget to leave the nightlight on.”
I laughed back. “How about I just open the door and let him fall out?”
She smiled up at me and then leaned over to tap on the window against his forehead. “Sleeping beauty… Wakey wakey. Come on. Get up.”
Sookie looked back and giggled. “He always sleep this hard?”
“No. He’s usually a light sleeper. I guess he hasn’t been sleeping well.” I wiggled my eyebrows at her and she licked her lips in my direction. Ungh.
Sookie opened the back door and climbed in. She leaned over the seat and patted his shoulder. “Hey big guy, if I leave you out here, you’re going feel like shit all day and I’ll feel guilty. Come on. You only have to make it as far as your bed…” Still nothing, but she didn’t give up. “I need you to get out of the car, Alcide.” He started stirring and she put her hand on the back of his neck and gave it a squeeze. “Come on… You can make it. I believe in you. It’s just 50 feet.”
He groaned. “I wouldn’t be so damn tired if you knew how to bite a pillow.”
She laughed at him and patted his shoulder. “Atta boy! Let’s get your grumpy ass inside.”
He grunted and huffed as he climbed out of the car and staggered to his room with us on his heels. He tossed himself onto the bed without any grace or turning the light off. Sookie laughed at him and went over, taking off his shoes and throwing a blanket over him. It felt like putting a surly child to bed and I laughed at him the whole time.
I sat on the side of OUR bed and started fighting with the laces on my boots. I looked around the room for a minute, letting it sink in that I was home. Sookie toed her shoes off and came over, standing between my knees with her hands resting on my neck, my hands settled on the back of her hips.
“Do you think we should move the book cases to put your desk in here, or should we put both desks in the next room and make it an office?”
“I work out of laptops. I don’t need a desk.”
She gave me a questioning look. “I’m stubborn, sure, but I’m not scared of rearranging furniture. I’m not territorial.” Sweet.
“You saw my place. I might need a drawer in your desk, but not my own. I like this room the way it is.”
I smiled at her and nodded. “I like OUR room the way it is.”
“You’re crazy. You know that, right?” I had to assume that she meant that we had just moved in with each other after knowing each other for 3 and a half days.
“Yes ma’am, I do. Now ask me if I care.”
“Are we going to take our secret to our graves, or are we going to come clean?”
I started chuckling. “I like our secret. I want to keep it.”
She flashed her sexy smirk at me. “You got it, boss.”
“Did you mean what you said earlier?”
“Absolutely. Always. Which thing?”
I started laughing. Bare knuckles honesty. “When you told Amelia that you loved me.”
“Oh, that? It took you long enough to bring it up.”
“It surprised me… I love you too.”
“Oh really? How do you know?”
“I’m a telepath.”
My laughter started in my throat. “That’s interesting. What am I thinking right now?”
She closed her eyes like she was concentrating. “Me and Frannie and… Jell-o? Baby oil?” When she opened her eyes, the shocked as hell look on my face made her throw her head back and laugh. My expression must have been grotesque because she actually put her hands over it. “You were talking in your sleep on the way home, you horny asshole. You’re lucky Alc was out by then, or you’d never hear the end of it.”
I started laughing too. My dumb ass almost fucking believed her! I pulled her to me and locked my arms around her waist. “You think that’s funny?”
“Oh yeah, I do. And you deserve it for being so dick-centric.” She adjusted her legs to put her knees on the bed and rested on my lap.
“Come on, give me a break. I had to knock back 6 beers to kill the initial thoughts and then you went and slapped her ass… Your hand print was all I saw for the rest of her dance.”
“Oh, I forgive you, but you probably need to light a candle for St. Raphael.”
I thought about that for a minute and was still stumped. “Which one is St. Raphael?”
She leaned forward, pushing me back on the bed. She started kissing my neck and whispering in my ear. “St. Raphael is the patron saint of what I did to you in the car…” She scraped her teeth on my neck. “What we did to scoot your bed across the floor…” She pushed my shirt up and bit my nipple, then the other. “What we did against the wall…” Her hand went between us and grabbed my dick. “And what you did to me on the couch.” She took my hand and licked from my palm to the tip of my finger and then wrapped her lips around it.
“Oh. My. God.”
She giggled. “That’s a good start.”